10 July 2008

08.07.08: T & Y's wedding - a Chinese wedding

So T (groom) and Y (bride)'s wedding was my first Chinese wedding and I was actually involved which was lovely. Let me first explain a few things (as I understand them) that may help;

1. Chinese weddings consist of the Chinese traditions in the morning and then the official wedding occurs, usually in a registry office.
2. The groom is allowed to see the Bride before the lawful ceremony and this can even been in her 'white' dress
3. The Groom has several 'brothers' or hing dai's but also a best man/men like English weddings
4. The Bride has severeal 'sisters' or gee mui's but also bridesmaids like English weddings

So Y asked me to be a gee mui, as I'd been friends with T for nearly 4 years and met Y that way and we'd hit it off straight away.

Often in Chinese weddings, the bride and groom choose the colour(s) that the hing dai's and gee muis have to wear. For T and Y's wedding, the hing dais wore purple ties and the gee muis had to wear pink dresses.

The day was very long and consisted of me getting up at 6 am, getting ready, getting a cab to Y's house where the two bridesmaid and another gee mui already were. I just sat around whilst they got ready and finally the rest of the gee muis arrived although I wasn't that well acquintated with a couple of them. The first of the Chinese traditions began;

Groom & hing dai test
The groom has to answer a series of questions, formulated by the bride, bridesmaids and gee muis. If he gets any wrong, the hing dai's must complete forfeits on the groom's behalf. The questions will consist of things like 'What is the brides favourite colour?', 'How did you and the bride meet?', etc. The forfeits will consist of things like eating sushi with a helluva lot of wasabi on, pressups, wearing lipstick, leg waxing, and so on. This part went on for about 45 mins and only when these tasks were completed and when the groom paid the 'entrance fee', with help from his hing dais' pockets, was the groom allowed admittance to the bride's house.

Yum cha at Bride's house
Upon being allowed in, the groom then has to retrieve the bride, for instance from upstairs, and both then have chinese tea, or yum cha with the brides parents. The bride will be wearing traditional chinese dress. At this point, the brides parents give red money packets or lei sees to the couple and put all wedding jewellery on the bride. The groom, the bride and the brides parents then travel to the grooms house.

Yum cha at Groom's house
The bride and groom must have yum cha with the groom's parents, who also give jewellery and lei sees to the couple. In the mean time, the brides parents are not in the house, in this case, outside in the white stretched limo. The bride then changes into a 'white' English-style wedding dress. Finally, the couple then move onto to wear the ceremony is.

Registry office ceremony
This part speaks for itself. The ceremony is the same as any other registry office ceremony.

The reception
Also like English weddings, there will often be a wedding reception but this is usually in a restaurant where a banquet will be served. This particular ceremony involved the seating and organisation of a large number of people, one of the jobs I was given along with a numbered seating plan. At the start of the reception, the bride, groom, best man and bridesmaid make their speeches, which in this case, parts are given in English and Chinese. The banquet follows and the bride, groom and close family go round each table and drink with that table. During the banquet, myself and 2 other gee muis were given the job of photographing each table with a polaroid camera and then pritt-sticking them into a wedding photograph book. After the banquet, the cake is cut, photos are taken and a party continues including karaoke on stage in which all gee muis get up and all hing dais get up to each sing songs. Other than that, the reception isn't any different to a usual English wedding, minus the disco with UB40 and Unchained Melody tracks of course.

We did move on to the Hilton's club, Cloud 23, after the restaurant and had one or two drinks there but I headed home quite early.

It was a lovely day though and each of the gee muis, and maybe the hing dai's, were given a DVD of the whole day, I've watched half of it already.

Now it's time to look forward to Europe. Oh, I forgot to mention I got my purse stolen, so had to cancel my card and order a new one... I have no idea if it will arrive in time and it's going home anyway so I'll have to organise money transfers and so on to R's account. *sigh*

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